|Space tourism closer as Virgin Galactic nears lift off
A report by BBC correspondent Richard Scott on the Virgin Galactic spacecraft under construction in the Mojave desert in the SW of the USA.
Watch the video without reading the transcript and answer the following questions:
1. In which year is it hoped the first passengers will use the spaceship?
2. How many passengers will the spacecraft carry?
3. How much time will they have floating around in the cabin?
3. How high up will the spaceship be when the rocket motor is fired?
4. How fast can the spaceship travel?
5.What is the maximum height that will be reached?
Listen to the report again and fill in the missing words in the transcript:
Well, this is the Virgin Galactic Spaceship. It’s going to be taking paying passengers into space from, ____________, 2013. So let’s take a look inside.
Now it’s my first time inside a spaceship and in fact it’s the first time that any journalist has been allowed in here. It’s obviously not finished at the moment but the _________ will sit here and there’ll be six passengers sitting three along each side of the spaceship. They’ll be able to look out of these windows and see the blue sky of the earth turning first ___________ and then into the blackness of space. The roar of the rocket motor behind them will disappear. The rush of the atmosphere along the outside of the spaceship will __________ and when they hear the silence that’s left and see the blackness outside, they’ll know that they’re in space. They’ll then get around 5 minutes floating in this cabin.
The spaceship can’t get into space, though, on its own. It needs a bit of help and it’ll get that help from this ___________ made plane. It’ll carry the spaceship in this little spot here up to about 50,000 feet, which is higher than a normal plane would fly, and when it gets to that altitude, it’ll literally drop the spaceship in mid-air. The spaceship then fires it’s rocket motor and accelerates in less than a minute to two and a half thousand miles per hour and in that way it _______ to nearly 70 miles above the earth.
Both the plane and the spaceship are made entirely of carbon composite. That means they’re much stronger and much lighter than they would otherwise be, which, of course, saves fuel and saves money. And the spaceship has got a neat trick to get back to earth as well because what ________ is these rear wings hinge and fold upwards. That increases the drag enormously, and together with the low weight because of the carbon composite and the fact that it’s not going right the way into orbit it means that the spaceship can get back into the atmosphere, it can re-enter the atmosphere, it can get back into the atmosphere without the need for heat shields, which again saves weight and saves money, and then once it’s back in the atmosphere the wings go back to the normal __________ and it simply glides to earth..
Find words in the passage with the following meanings:
1. g____________________ connected with a large group of stars like the Milky Way
2. j_____________________ person who reports for a newspaper, TV station etc.
3. o_____________________ clearly
4. a_____________________ height above the surface of the earth
5. l_____________________ actually, really
6. a_____________________ gets faster
7. e_____________________ completely
8. c_____________________ combination of different materials
9. h_____________________ swing round to a different angle while remaining attached to something else
10. d____________________ the pressure of air on a moving object which slows it down
11. a_____________________ the gases which surround the earth
12. s____________________ something that gives protection against danger
Answer the following questions:
1. What TWO things will let the passengers know they have arrived in space?
2. Why is carbon composite used for the spaceship and for the aircraft which carries it?
3. What is the reason for giving the spaceship folding wings??
4. Make a list of points for and against taking ordinary people into space. Then, decide what your own opinion is and write about 80 words either for or against the project.